During the month of March, four homes each sold for exactly $1 million. There’s nothing magical about that number, but as benchmarks go, it has an undeniable appeal. So what is a million-dollar house? At the moment, it’s one of these:
River North townhouse
List Price: $1.099 million
Built in 2004, when the parking lots and warehouses east of the old Montgomery Ward’s headquarters were being transformed into a residential neighborhood, this corner townhouse has four bedrooms and three baths. In March 2004, when it was new, it sold for $942,500, according to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds. Its latest sale closed March 15; it had been on the market since November, when it debuted with an asking price of $1.24 million that was later cut by 22 percent to $1.099 million. Its $1 million sale represents a profit of 5.5 percent over the 2004 deal—not bad when the trend has been in the other direction. “[The home] showed really well, with lots of sunlight because it’s on a corner and faces south,” explains the selling agent, Joe Zimmerman of @Properties. He also praises the River North location, which has dining, transportation, and the Loop close at hand.
Lincoln Park house
List Price: $1.099 million
Tucked among much older homes, this brick house was, for about five years, conjoined with an 1890s home next door. The family in the older home bought this one for expansion space in 2006, paying $1.575 million, according to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds. After building and moving into a larger home nearby, the family put the two joined houses on the market separately last September, says Kristin Jaman of Baird & Warner, who was the agent on the March 16 sale (she also handled the 2006 deal, when she was also the homeowner selling it). The sellers lost about 36 percent in the more recent transaction.
River East condo
List Price: $999,900
This 34th-floor condo combines what were two condos—a one-bedroom unit facing south and a two-bedroom unit on the southwest corner—at the Parkview Condominiums adjacent to the River East Arts Center. It offers sweeping views over the neighborhood, the Chicago River, and the high-rises along Randolph Street, says Charles Landefeld, a senior vice president at MCL Companies, which developed the building and handled the resale of this condo. The buyer, who, according to public records, paid $1.183 million in 2008, put it back on the market in December 2010, asking $1.29 million. Even though it ultimately sold (on March 24) for almost 16 percent less than the original purchase price, its two sales count as the highest and second highest prices in the building, according to Landefeld.
Park Ridge house
List Price: $1.25 million
This six-bedroom Park Ridge house was on the market just 11 days when its sellers took an offer that was 20 percent below their asking price. They had paid $1.65 million for the newly built home in January 2006. There are 11-foot-high ceilings in the basement, two master suites, and a corner lot just under a quarter-acre. The location is a short walk from the suburb’s downtown, a short bike ride from Dam No. 4 Forest Preserve, and a short drive from O’Hare. The house went on the market February 6 and went under contract February 17. “It was a relocating seller who needed to sell,” says John Eggert, the Baird & Warner agent who colisted the house with Laura Arnett. “The buyers recognized that they were getting a very, very good price.” The sale closed March 28.